ulaca (ulaca) wrote in times_xwd_times,
ulaca
ulaca
times_xwd_times

Times 26,329 - Minkey Business

The Lunar New Year is ushered in with this tricky little number, which features quite a few animals but none I recognise among the Oriental Zodiac. But I have more serious things to consider, like which of 15 down and 26 across I have got wrong and which I have merely failed to parse. Over an hour to get even thus far - it is just as well I am a pig, though not, it seems, a very bright one. I must dash shortly for the in-laws place, so this may be somewhat abbreviated, especially as we get to the business end.

Oops! I got those two right. I mucked up the one I was particularly proud of getting right!

ACROSS

1. VENDOR - V + ENDOR ('village with witch'); the Biblical medium was summoned by King Saul - surely candidate for world's most troubled monarch - but I know the story best through CS Lewis, who used the phrase 'Witch of Endor' as code for a particularly eccentric relative in letters to his brother posted overseas.
4. CHOW-CHOW
10. SETTLED - SETT (home of badger) + LED.
11. WREN TIT - WENT across R + IT ('precise requirement'); according to ODO, this creature is 'A long-tailed North American songbird that is the only American member of the babbler family'. The lexicographer obviously hadn't met the bloke I used to sit next to in the HK Welsh Choir.
12. AMIR - an amir/emir used to be a Muslim/Arab chieftain; the word is still used titularly; M in AIR ('state').
13. QUARRELLED - RR (right reverend) + ELLE in QUAD.
15. BAKSHEESH - tip or bribe; SHE in BAKE + SH ('order to keep quiet').
16. DICTA - CT in AID reversed.
18. FIRED - FIR + [d]E[a]D.
19. EXTENSION - 'additional time for repayment'; EX + TENSION.
21. ABOMINABLE - BAN A MOBILE anagram*.
23. DOZE - DOZE[n]
26. OVEREAT - I think this is right, but cannot see how Mary fits in. She fits in because 'Little Mary' is a euphemism for the stomach. Thanks to ShuchiU for this.
27. EARRING - A in ERRING ('dropping a brick').
28. SINGSONG - SIN + S in GONG. Nice.
29. SEVERE - SEVER + E.

DOWN

1. VESTA - apparently a minor planet / asteroid thingy, but best known to me from my schooldays as MSG in a pack masquerading as chicken curry; VEST + A.
2. NITPICKER - I can't see this one either, so over to the floor once more. Right, thanks to Jack - if you are the type of person who likes taking away all the non-leading letters in UNIT, you might be called a NITPICKER.
3. OILY - [d]OILY.
5. HAWORTH - and not 'Howarth' as I had it; home of the Brontes and HA[s] + WORTH. At least, the year can only get better.
6. WEEKENDING - WEEDING Around KEN[t].
7. HOTEL - HO + TEL.
8. WITHDRAWN - I think this is DRAWN for '[one] yielding to attraction', but I can't see the rest. Thanks to Jack again - a letter substitution clue at heart, wherein the second I of WITH[i]N is deleted and replaced by DRAW ('attraction').
9. ADJURE - DJ in A URE.
14. SHODDINESS - ODD in SHINE + SS.
15. BUFFALOES - 'animals'; and merely an anagram of USE OF FLAB*; merely, I say, not in disparagement of the setter, but in light of my own travails.
17. CRINOLINE - the stuff that made petticoats and thus the dresses on top of them stick out, if you will ('it's stiff'); [worke]R + IN ('at home') in CO + LINE ('policy'). Rather cunning in terms of placement of ingredients.
19. ELASTIN - [bing]E + LASTIN[g].
20. TOLLED - I had never particularly associated slowness with tolling, but the dictionaries do, so, once again, I am the slow one, it seems; sounds like 'told'.
22. OCEAN - [escap]E in O + CAN.
24. EAGLE - hidden.
25. TRUE - TRU[c]E.

Gung Hey Fat Choy to you all! Back later to clear up this mess.
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